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Vatican Releases List of Synod Participants, Explains New Methodology

Cardinal Baldisseri Says October Meeting on the Family Will Propose to the World “Beauty and Values” of the Family

In an announcement today in which it published the names of those taking part in the upcoming Synod of Bishops on marriage and the family, the Vatican also explained that the ecclesial body has a new methodology.

The Extraordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops (5-19 October) will be on the theme: “Pastoral challenges to the family in the context of evangelisation”. The aim of the meeting is “to propose to today’s world the beauty and the values of the family, which emerge from the proclamation of Jesus Christ Who disperses fear and supports hope,” the Vatican said.

Referring to the preparatory stages of the synod, in which a questionnaire was unusually sent to dioceses around the world in order to prepare the working document for the two-week meeting, Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri, secretary general of the Synod of Bishops, said the synod “is developing in a new and renewed way, with concrete actions.”

The criterion for renewal is that of “first painting the picture and then adding the frame,” he said. “The rules in force provide the track along which the train of renewal proceeds. As we go ahead, the steps necessary for changing the rules or eventually setting about a full reconstruction of the Synod as an entity will become evident.”

The cardinal said the synod will be divided into two phases: the Extraordinary General Assembly of 2014 and the Ordinary General Assembly of 2015. “A new working methodology will be applied,” he explained, “rendering the process more dynamic and participatory, with speeches and testimonials, always with a view to continuity towards the second stage, after which the Synod document will be published”.

Cardinal Baldisseri’s comments were made in a statement on the Synod which we publish below. The full list of participants can be found here

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“Why are two full pages of names being published today in the Osservatore Romano? Because these names correspond to people from all over the world, who will take part in the Extraordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops (5-19 October) on the theme: “Pastoral challenges to the family in the context of evangelisation”. The aim of the meeting is to propose to today’s world the beauty and the values of the family, which emerge from the proclamation of Jesus Christ Who disperses fear and supports hope.

Synodus – which means ‘taking a path together’ – is the expression that indicates the eccesial space in which we convene in order to meet and to reflect – in the dual faith in God and man – before today’s challenges to the family. The list that follows is made up of representatives from the five continents, subdivided as follows: 114 presidents of Episcopal Conferences, 13 heads of the ‘sui iuris’ Eastern Catholic Churches, 25 heads of the dicasteries of the Roman Curia, 9 members of the Ordinary Council of the Secretariat, the secretary general, the under-secretary, 3 nominees from the Union of Superior Generals, and 26 pontifical nominees. Other participants include 8 fraternal delegates, 38 auditors, including 13 married couples, and 16 experts. The total number of participants in the Synod Assembly is 253.

In the dynamic of the renewal of the Church ordered by Pope Francis, the updating of the institution of the Synod is explained in particular in the preparatory process and in the process of the Assemblies themselves. This project, initiated with the convocation of the Synod Assembly, is developing in a new and renewed way, with concrete actions. The criterion for renewal is that of first painting the picture and then adding the frame. The rules in force provide the track along which the train of renewal proceeds. As we go ahead, the steps necessary for changing the rules or eventually setting about a full reconstruction of the Synod as an entity will become evident.

The itinerary of the next Synod will be divided into two phases: the Extraordinary General Assembly of 2014 and the Ordinary General Assembly of 2015. A new working methodology will be applied, rendering the process more dynamic and participatory, with speeches and testimonials, always with a view to continuity towards the second stage, after which the Synod document will be published”.

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